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The world has shifted before our eyes to one overflowing with information. This transformation necessitates unprecedented familiarity with data; in the future, understanding data and being able to manipulate it will be a necessary skill. Just as typing has been adopted as a regular part of our lives, data will be an expected piece of our workflow in the future.

Benefits of the Data Age

Company-wide data usage is still in its beginning stages. Right now, using data well is a competitive advantage because most competitors simply aren’t trying. This won’t last; the digital transformation will continue to take place and using data will be required to keep businesses on-par with competitors. Data can help you create detailed customer profiles and journey maps so that you can understand customers on an individual basis and cater their experience to their specific needs. This can create powerful, quick wins by increasing the value of individual sales and helping bring in more business. Data also enables you to evaluate customer lifetime value and optimize your product for your most valuable customers, ultimately making your business more profitable.

Data Transforming Business

The businesses who are using data quickly and effectively are seeing substantial changes take place. These businesses offer insight into what the future of data looks like: they’ve created a data culture where the silos between departments no longer exist and data flows freely. They also are able to utilize all of their data and conduct experiments (mostly with A/B testing) which help them create causal links to improve their products and customer experience. It’s important to recognize that innovation with data isn’t a one-and-done process; successful usage of data involves making consistent daily gains and will be a necessity for businesses in the future. Otherwise, these businesses will fail to compete and eventually fail to exist meaningfully. We have entered the data age, and it’s vital for companies to recognize this not only to compete but to survive.

What’s on the Horizon

The digital era and explosion of data mean that nearly everything will be quantified. Evidence of this can already be seen with smart cities like Barcelona and Helsinki who are constantly gathering data on their residents and using it to become more efficient. More data gathering will also mean that data becomes more comprehensive and closer to perfection, allowing machine learning and automation to take over more of our lives and make the time humans spend on tasks even more impactful. We’ll also eventually have more ownership over our data: right now, Facebook and Google (alongside a few other large tech companies) get your information for free. In the future, though, the data we generate will be protected and commoditized.

We have entered the data age, and the benefits are widespread for both individuals and businesses. Data is a powerful tool, and it’s going to continue to see widespread uptake and use.